Nov
17th
2007

How To Deal With Angry Customers



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It doesn’t take long working at a call center for you to encounter an angry customer or two. In fact, you might even run into an angry customer on your first call!Here are a few tips when dealing with angry customers.

1. Let them vent.

You’ll hear this suggestion everywhere, the reason is that it works. Many people are mad and don’t necessarily want anything done, they just want to be heard. JoJo Tabares says, “Part of being good at customer service is letting the customer feel that he has the floor. Let him tell you the entire story. Take notes if it is long or involved. Only after the customer has felt like he has said his peace should you attempt to solve his problem.

2. Slow down.

If someone is yelling, talking fast, and obviously upset, you need to do the opposite. Slow your speech down, talk quieter and don’t get upset. By leading the conversation in this manner you can hopefully guide the conversation into a positive outcome rather than one that ends in more yelling and your supervisor on the phone in your place. Seth Godin says, “Talk more quietly and more slowly than the person you’re talking with. Not an exaggerated mantra, but just enough that you will be de-escalating, not escalating.

3. Say “Sorry”.

I know it isn’t your fault, but likely someone was at fault. You’re not apologizing for what you did wrong, but apologizing on behalf of another employee or on behalf of the company. This can be as simple as saying, “I’m sorry you’re having trouble, let’s see what we can do to get it resolved.” John Crickett says, “It doesn’t matter if you are in the wrong or not, just saying sorry can go a long way to pacifying an upset client. If you believe it’s not your fault then by all means don’t apologise for the problem, instead apologise for the fact that they are not happy with the product or service.

4. Acknowledge and repeat the problem.

Once you feel that you have a grasp on what the problem is, repeat it back to the customer to make sure you are solving the actual problem. For example, “Sir, are you telling me that the cell phone you bought is losing reception and your old phone never did this?”

5. Look for the end solution.

What exactly is your customer looking for? Do they want a refund? Are they trying to get a new piece of software installed? Do they want a replacement? Until you find out what type of response they’re looking for, you’ll never be able to give them a satisfactory experience. Dave Taylor says, “It reaffirms that you understand why they’re upset and can see the desired end point.

6. Solve at the customer’s pace.

A common problem is that we become problem solvers before the time comes. Customers want to vent, after they’re finished venting and get acknowledgment that you listened, then they’re ready for you to solve the problem, not before. Robert Bacal says, “So the number one error is moving to solve the problem before the customer is “ready”, or calm enough to work with the employee. The result is the employee has to repeat things over and over (since the customer didn’t hear), and has to ask the same questions over and over. And that’s what drives people nuts.

7. Explain your options.

If you’re like most people, you don’t own the company and the steps you can take are limited. The customer would love for someone to just be honest with them and say, “These are the steps I am required to take, and these are the things that I have the power to do. If we don’t solve your problems during these steps then I’ll get you to someone who has the power to fix your problems. Recruiting Animal says, “Tell her what you can do right now. Or, promise to get back to her after you pass the buck.

8. Make an attempt.

You won’t be able to solve every problem that comes your way, but some of them you will be able to solve. When you get the chance, jump at it. Other times you need to realize that nothing in your power will satisfy the customer. John Crickett says, “Then offer the customer something as compensation. If the customer is not happy with your offer, or you can’t think of a suitable offer, ask the customer what they would like you to do to resolve the situation.

Now get out there and solve some problems!

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If this article about how to deal with angry customers wasn’t right for you, check out Great Tips for Dealing with Call Centers.

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